It hasn’t been the best of days. I’m trying to get home, taking a flight from Roanoke to Charlotte to Minneapolis, when I get an alert: my flight out has been cancelled, along with all the other flights out of Roanoke that evening. The clever computers at American Airlines have obligingly booked me on the next available flight, which is two days later.
That’s not going to work for me.
There is a mad scramble for a flight agent (hint: they dread these situations, I’m sure. Being nice will get you more help than raging at them.) We work out a slightly better solution: rebook a Charlotte to Minneapolis flight, scrap any attempt to fly out of Roanoke, it’s buggered, and rent a car to make the three hour drive to Charlotte. I get the cheapest nearby motel I can find, because I’m already hit with unexpected expenses, and I figure I’ll get a good night’s rest before braving unfamiliar roads.
So. My room is horrible. Everything is booked everywhere, so all I can get is a smoking room, which reeks of death, ashes, and despair. The furniture is speckled with cigarette burns. The WiFi doesn’t work. I’m just going to sleep here, then escape. Which I do, sorta.
I am awakened at 4am by an ungodly industrial racket. Garbage trucks have arrived and are hate-banging dumpsters outside my window. No one can sleep through this, but thankfully it ends after 10 minutes of sonic chaos. I put a pillow over my head and resolve to get a few hours of sleep.
Then, my head pressed against the mattress, I hear…something scurrying and scratching in the box spring.
I tell you what, nothing will get you to leap out of bed faster in the morning. Which is why I am now sitting in a rental car bracing myself to flee Roanoke, Virginia for an airport in North Carolina, 18 hours before my flight is scheduled. Send coffee.